Noto is the Capital of Baroque in Sicily and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is perched on a plateau overlooking the Asinaro valley, covered by citrus, olive and almond trees. If you love Baroque architecture I recommend to visit also the nearby Ragusa, Modica and Siracusa with its stunning Ortigia. It is a fascinating journey to the discovery of these towns built with the typical honey-colored stone, illuminated by the rays of the sun during the day and by the warm artificial lights in the evening. This is the same stone which characterized Noto in Sicily, giving it a unique charm. I also planned a wonderful itinerary to visit Ragusa, Modica and Scicli, just to get captured by their endless beauty. My friend got married in Noto and I spent 2 nights in this lovely town. I organized a short relaxing trip before to go on vacation in August. The first night I stayed at a lovely B&B in the center of Noto, Ciaula B&B, a double room is €65. The choice was apt. What prompted me to book right here was the terrace where you have breakfast. It has an incredible view over the rooftops of Noto. I spent my second night at a wonderful ecotourism luxury hotel, Masseria della Volpe, about 20 minutes from Noto, Sicily.
Noto was completely destroyed by the earthquake in 1693 and then rebuilt. You can admire palaces, churches, balconies with wrought iron railings and cherubs that decorate the facing. Noto is called the “Garden of Stone” because of its typical stone.You can visit Noto in one day. Here are the coolest things you can do in Noto, Sicily.
1. Walking through the center and discover Baroque churches and buildings. The main street of Noto is Corso Vittorio Emanuele where there are 3 squares: Piazza Immacolata, Piazza Municipio, Piazza XVI Maggio. You access Corso Vittorio Emanuele through the Royal Gate. There are some symbols that decorate the door (a tower which is symbol of fortitude and a Cirneco, a dog symbol of faithfulness). These symbols origin from Bourbon monarchy. Over the Corso Vittorio Emanuele you can admire architectural golden buildings, flanking about 1km. Next to the Royal Gate there are public gardens filled with bougainvillea, flowers and palm trees. Here are 3 churches you cannot miss:
> Church of San Francesco all’Immacolata is in Piazza Immacolata and it has an impressive staircase. Inside of the Church there is the Madonna and Child painting Madonna and Child painted in 1564 by Antonio Monachello. Fortunately, this painting didn’t suffer earthquake damage. The Monastero del Santissimo Salvatore (Monastery of the Holy Saviour), is right to the Church and you can only admire it from the outside. Its windows are adorned with goose-breast balconies to allow ladies in large dresses to look out to the balcony.> Palazzo Ducezio and the Cathedral in Piazza Municipio. You will be amazed by the large staircase to access the Cathedral. The Church is bordered by two bell towers and you can see the remains of the dome collapsed in 1996.
This is Palazzo Ducezio
> Church of San Domenico at Piazza XVI Maggio. The interior is covered with white stucco and marble altars.
2. Join Noto flower festival called “Infiorata di Noto”. It is a festival that attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world. The main street of this event is Via Nicolaci, which is decorated by flower petals to create real mosaics. It takes place on the third Sunday of May. At the end of this street you can see the Church of Montevergini, lined with Baroque buildings. If you want to climb the tower the ticket is €2 and the view is breathtaking.
Via Nicolaci throughout the year
Via Nicolaci during Infiorata
3. Enjoy Baroque palaces, balconies, windows and doors. Palace Nicolaci di Villadorata has pompous balconies decorated with cherubs, lions, sirens and grotesque figures. Take also a walk in Via Cavour, the parallel street to Corso Vittorio Emanuele. Here there are with Palazzo Astuto (n. 54) which has lovely balconies and Palazzo Trigona Cannicarao (n. 93).
4. Taste the best fish at Ristorante Dammuso. I love this restaurant! So happy to have chosen it during my trip to Noto! An incredibly good starter, 2 main courses, a glass of wine €45, great price considering I ate fish and that we are in one of the most touristic places in the world.
NOTE: I chose to have lunch tasting a granita at CaffèSicilia, which is a famous bar in Noto. Locals recommended to go to this place but I was not satisfied. In my opinion, the Sicilian granita you can taste in Catania is absolutely the best.
5. Having a chic cocktail at Anche gli Angeli. This is a great place where you can have dinner and drink the best cocktails in Noto. The location is really charming, but the most charming thing is that you can also buy Sicilian products and also read books! 6. Explore the stunning Vendicari reserve and relax at one of the most beautiful beaches in Noto, Sicily: Calamosche. If you are looking for a beach to enjoy the Sicilian sun don’t miss the reserve of Vendicari and Calamosche beach. This is one of the most beautiful beaches where Sicilians love to stay. Before you get to the beach you have to walk for about 30 minutes. It is not an equipped beach!
7. Discover Laghetti di Cavagrande. Cavagrande lakes are in Avola, which is very close to Noto. This is the perfect place for travellers who love enjoying nature and the great outdoors. There are limestone cliffs above the valley floor and suggestive small lakes you can access along the path down into the gorge.8. Feeling pampered at a Luxury Resort. The second night I decided to relax at the Luxury Relais Masseria della Volpe, just 20 minutes away from Noto. It is a newly built fully eco sustainable and I really felt pumpered. Here is my review of Masseria della Volpe.As you can see you can really do a lot of things in Noto. Sicily. BUT please note that you cannot visit the center of Noto, Cavagrande and Vendicari in one day. My advice is to combine Vendicari or Cavagrande in the morning and Noto in the afternoon!
Which of these cool things would you like to try?